How to Delete Apps on Mac That Won’t Delete


How to Delete Apps on Mac That Won’t Delete

We’ve all been there–our Mac starts to run slow or act weird, and we don’t know what to blame. If you can trace your problem to a specific app, it is often as simple as uninstalling and reloading the application. But what happens when an app will not delete?

While Macs are famed for their intuitiveness and “it just works” mantra, they come with their own problems. But, if you can navigate your way around any potential issues, you’ll be able to get the most out of your computer.

In today’s article, we’ll show you what to do when an app doesn’t delete on Mac and a few handy tricks you can try to get things working again.

What Makes Some Mac Apps Impossible to Remove

The defining characteristic of the Apple computer is its fluid, user-friendly, highly intuitive user experience. Anyone who uses Mac will tell you it is one of the easiest operating systems they’ve used.

Mac OS comes with plenty of default apps to get you started. Additionally, you can download millions of useful apps from the built-in App Store. However, the process of uninstalling an application on a Mac can sometimes be challenging.

It is undoubtedly frustrating when an app refuses to uninstall. But there are a few potential explanations for this behavior. The most common culprit is that the app is running in the background.

If the application is currently running in the background, you’ll get error messages when attempting to delete it. This can get a little confusing since you might not even realize when an app is running in the background. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to check background processes via the Activity Monitor, which we’ll get into shortly.

Another explanation for an app that refuses to delete is that it could be a system application. You won’t be able to delete a system app. Instead, you’ll be greeted with the error “can’t be modified or deleted because it is required by macOS.” Luckily, system apps are rarely to blame for common problems, and experienced users can remove them via the Terminal.

How to Delete Apps with Finder

In macOS, Finder is the default file manager for accessing and deleting apps. You can uninstall your app with just a few clicks after you locate it on your Mac. By default, all applications are located in the Applications Folder. This is the first place to pay a visit when you want to get rid of an app.

Step 1: Launch Finder

Selecting Finder.

To get started, launch Finder from the dock.

Step 2: Locate Applications

Finding Applications in Finder.

Once the Finder has opened up, locate Applications from the options in the left sidebar. Here, you’ll see all the applications installed on your Mac. If you want to remove one, right-click on it and select Move to Trash.

Alternatively, you can drag the item to the Trash bin on the dock. Your Mac might ask you to enter a password to proceed. This is normal. Just enter your info and hit confirm.

How to Delete Apps from Launchpad

You can quickly delete an app by using the Launchpad on your Mac. Your Mac uses this same utility to open apps, and you can typically find the icon for it right on your dock. It takes just a few simple steps to delete apps from your computer with this utility as long as the app in question has an icon in the Launchpad.

Click on the Launchpad icon in the Dock to open it. You’ll be greeted with the familiar Launchpad screen. Here is where it gets interesting. Locate the app you would like to delete. When you find it, hold down the option key, and an X should appear on the icon. Click the X, and Mac will prompt you to confirm your selection.

Removing an app from the Launchpad.

As you might have noticed while doing this, only some apps in the Launchpad will show an X button over their icon. If you cannot delete the app you want to remove via Launchpad, you must proceed to the following method.

How to Delete Apps Through Terminal

The Terminal might seem like a tool that is only for advanced users, but you should not be intimidated by it. In fact, the Terminal is a powerful weapon to have in your arsenal when taking down stubborn apps that refuse to be deleted.

To get started, open Terminal. You can simultaneously hit the Command key and Space bar to bring up macOS Spotlight and search for it. Conversely, you can locate the Terminal in the Launchpad and open it from there.

Launching the Terminal.

With Terminal open, locate the app icon you wish to delete from the applications folder. You’ll need to have this at hand for the next step. In your Terminal window, type the following command:

sudo uninstall file://

Simply drag the app icon into the Terminal, and the path will automatically update. When prompted, enter your admin password. The terminal will handle it from there.

Wrap Up

Malfunctioning or out-of-date applications are often to blame for buggy performance or a crashing program. You can delete apps quickly enough via the Finder or the Launchpad, but if things get out of hand, you can turn to methods like the Terminal to remove stubborn apps.

Check out the video below for a quick visual guide to the Finder and Launchpad methods.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a Mac slow?

A Mac may slow down if it runs low on storage space or memory. It can also slow down by running too many background processes or unnecessary software. Additionally, older Macs have limited hardware which can hinder their performance.

Do apps take up space on Mac? 

Yes. While simple apps don’t take up much space at all, larger apps like games or design programs can take up significant space.

Is it safe to delete apps on Mac?

It is safe to delete apps on Mac since the user cannot delete system apps.

How to free up space on Mac?

You can clear up space on your Mac by emptying the trash, clearing your cache files, and removing unused applications.

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